Re-imagining Dreams

In the past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating new beginnings a lot.  Maybe it’s the hope of spring with crocuses starting to pop up in spite of snow.  Maybe it’s Lent. Or maybe with the attempt to die to my anxious self, I’m beginning to dream about what life could be like now that I’m not tightly gripping the anxious baggage.  And along those lines, Jurgen Moltmann writes, in In the End – The Beginning, “We <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:”Chalkboard SE Bold”; panose-1:3 5 6 2 4 2 2 2 2 5; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Sectishall only become capable of new beginnings if we are prepared to let go of the things that torment us and the things we lack.” I’ve been realizing more and more lately that I’m letting go of my desire to go on and immediately pursue a Ph.D. after finishing my Masters of Divinity.  As I think about what I like to read and how I like to spend my time, the thought of pursuing more and more study seems less life-giving. I don’t want to pursue the Ph. D. just so folks can call me Dr. and think I’m smart.  And maybe the dream of being Dr. McGrew-King was trumping my personality formation goals.  

On another front, I need more time to spend living out my theology before I spend more time thinking and writing about it.  I’m hungry for a balance.  Kosuke Koyama, in No Handle on the Cross, writes “Academic excellence refers to the ability to use particular skills and tools.  But academic excellence must not be appreciated by itself in isolation.  Its value must be brought out in terms of excellence in serving man.”  I can do academic excellence.  I can write great theology and great papers on what the Bible means in various passages. I can do the school bit.  But, the school bit is no longer what feeds me. I’m no longer sustained on the ideas alone.  Instead, I’m on a quest for a truth that I live out in relationship with others.  I need time for the reading and the study to mature and bring fruit in me.  I need testing grounds for trying out my beliefs about the world, and seeing what happens.  I need space to practice justice and mercy till I live them out as part of my own breathing. So that they aren’t just professed values – but the way I conduct my life. If I do a Ph.D., I want it to be about a truth that I actually live, rather than an abstract, out-there thing.  

And we’re beginning to talk about and pray about adoption and how that works once I’m done with my masters. To go on to pursue my Ph.D. puts another time delay on that plan since I don’t want to be trying to become a mom and doing a Ph.D. all at once.  I applaud people, particularly women, who can do it all.  But, I am not one of them.  I can’t work, study, be a parent, be involved in my church, all at the same time without feeling like I’m failing at everything.   In any case, giving up the Ph.D. for now feels like taking a hefty, little used book out of my totebag to free up space for things that I actually need.  I feel lighter and with more space to breathe and move. I may still go back for the Ph.D., but I’ve come to recognize that in the meantime there are things that I want more than letters after my name. 

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